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PCC grant helps victims and survivors of domestic abuse

Women and children whose lives have been affected by domestic abuse are continuing to be given the vital support they need to turn their lives around thanks to a cash boost from Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

“Everyone has the right to live without fear” are the words used by the Pandora Project which gives advice and information on such abuse to those living in the West Norfolk and Swaffham areas.

The charity - which has offered a lifeline to numerous women who have experienced, or are still experiencing, domestic abuse - has received nearly £180,000 from the office of PCC Lorne Green.

The funding, not only pays for crucial advocacy, advice, support and information for adult victims but also funds vital work with children and young people.

Tracy Mahoney, who founded the charity in 2013, said: “We have a team of extremely dedicated volunteers doing lots of great work, including a children and young people advocacy support worker who has a four month waiting list.
“We are so busy but it just shows that there is such a need for our services in this area.”
Pandora runs ‘Escape the TRAP’ (Teenage Relationship Abuse Programme) which has been delivered to students at three highs schools in the local area.

“We have had some really positive responses back form the work we are doing in local schools,” added Tracy.

“I truly believe that the only way to tackle domestic abuse is early education, as it can help to prevent perpetrators and victims of the future.

“Our team are very passionate about our work, it really feels like we are making a difference to people in crisis. We are really grateful for the funding we have received from the Police and Crime Commissioner to allow us to continue this vital work.”

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Thanks to the PCC grant, between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 alone, Pandora:
  • Delivered the Freedom Programme - which helps victims understand the abuse suffered and learn what to expect from a healthy relationship – to 48 clients.
  • Supported around adult 100 clients on a one-to-one basis.
  • Supported around 100 child clients.
PCC Lorne Green, said: "The work carried out by Pandora in the West of our county should not be underestimated.

“Tracy and her dedicated and loyal team of workers have helped so many women who may have felt in the depths of despair, to see there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Crucially Pandora has also supported numerous children and young people who have either been direct victims of domestic abuse or witnessed it at home, behind closed doors and for this they must be commended.

“As Norfolk’s PCC I have pledged that I will do everything within my means to prevent such abuse and ensure that help and support is available to those who need it.”

Pandora was awarded £179,285 in total from the office of the PCC including; £17,697 in 2016/17, £79,371 for 2017/18 and £82,217 for 2018/19.

Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for commissioning victim support services in their police force area, and all PCCs receive dedicated funding nationally for that purpose.

Around 80% of clients referred to Pandora suffer no physical abuse, but emotional abuse.

“Some of our clients are prisoners in their own homes,” added Tracy.

“We’ve heard how a perpetrator will go out to work but keep ringing a client every half an hour to make sure she is at home or they will check the car mileage if she has been out.

“Technology is now a huge problem. Clients’ partners often ask them to use Facetime to prove where they are.

“Clients say ‘I don’t know how he always knows where I am’ but technology makes it so much easier to track people.

“A perpetrator may check emails or text messages or can track where they are via mobile phone apps.

“Financial abuse can mean that perpetrators take loans out in their partner’s names and don’t repay them leaving our clients with huge debts. They may have all their wages taken off them and be given a small allowance so the perpetrator can assert control.

“It is very difficult to walk away from an abusive partner for many reasons; children or financial commitments can make you feel even more trapped.

“Knowledge of what constitutes domestic abuse and controlling relationships is the key. Even if clients don’t leave the perpetrator, with knowledge they are taking small steps, they have the awareness, they know what their options are and feel more empowered
“Some women arrive at Pandora with no confidence and very low self-esteem and you gradually see a change in them as we Pandora’ise’ them.”
“It is important for people to realise there is another way. They come to us and feel so overwhelmed with everything, there are so many things they need to think about and they can feel swamped, but it’s not the reason to stay with someone.

“Abuse within relationships generally becomes more frequent and more severe over time, whether it is weeks or years, it generally gets worse.

“We are a passionate team who can offer individually tailored emotional and practical support. People should always come forward there is lots of help available and we are here to listen.”

For more information on the work of the Pandora Project visit here.